Over the last several years, concern has increased about the amount of man-made materials lost or discarded at sea and the potential impacts to the environment. The scope of the problem depends on the amounts and types of debris. One problem is making a regional comparison of debris is the lack of a standard methodology. The objective of this manual is to discuss designs and methodologies for assessment studies of marine debris. This manual has been written for managers, researchers, and others who are just entering this area of study and who seek guidance in designing marine debris surveys. Active researchers will be able to use this manual along with applicable references herein as a source for design improvement. To this end, the authors have reviewed and synthesized survey techniques that have been used in the past for assessing marine debris, such as sighting surveys, beach surveys, and trawl surveys, and have considered new methods (e.g., aerial photography). All techniques have been put into a general survey planning framework to assist in developing different marine debris surveys.